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Altitude Sickness Info

You must obey the rules when you gain altitude. The rules are very simple though. Also known as AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), High Altitude Sickness or simply "Altitude Sickness" is a physical condition when the body cannot adapt well to the lack of oxygen present in higher altitudes. Generally, High Altitude Sickness Occurs when people ascend up to the high altitude (generally above 3000 meters) very quickly. So climbing too high too fast can have life-threatening repercussions. At the altitude of 5490m (18000ft), there's just half the oxygen available as there is at the sea level. And it's only a third available at the Mt Everest summit.
 
To make you sure about your safety and well-being by reducing the risk of altitude sickness, Cold Feet Adventure Nepal has designed proper itineraries for all the trips. However, individual susceptibility to altitude sickness seems to be determined genetically.
 

Initial Symptoms of High Altitude Sickness

If you are at altitudes of more than 3000m, don't expect to feel perfect. You may experience the normal altitude symptoms over there but there's nothing to be seriously worry about. Almost all trekkers may experience some of the following symptoms, which are considered the initial symptoms of High altitude Sickness:

  • The need for more sleeps (often 10 hours or more)

  • Periods of sleeplessness

  • Loss of appetite (occasionally)

  • Wild dreams at the altitude of about 2500m to 3800m

  • Unexpected shortness of breath (momentary)

  • Increased urination

  • Snotty nose (almost all the time) 

Mild Symptoms

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Painful cough or a dry raspy cough 

What to do if you get Mild Symptoms?

  • Don't go high with basic symptoms

  • If you get mild symptoms, just stop and relax and drink some fluids quite often

  • Have more rest and take 125-250mg Diamox in the evening and drink plenty of fluids

  • Take another 250mg Diamox 6 to 8 hours later. Don't leave taking precautions even if you feel a little better.

  • If symptoms continue to get worse, don't try to ascend up. Rather descend down and acclimatize, and try to climb up again. 

Serious AMS Symptoms

  • Severe headache (continuously)

  • Vomiting (persistently)

  • Inability to walk in a straight line

  • Losing consciousness

  • Mental confusion

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Liquid sounds in the lungs

  • Feeling breathless at rest

  • Coughing clear fluid or pink phlegm or blog (dangerous sign)

  • Marked blueness in face and lips

  • High-resting heartbeats (over 130 beats per minute)

  • Mild symptoms getting worse (rapidly) 

Medical Conditions

HAPE

It occurs when excess fluid moves into the alveoli of your lungs and interferes the proper exchange of oxygen. HAPE is the most prevalent cause of all climbing fatalities due to high altitude sickness.
Early HAPE symptoms include a dry cough and difficulty in breathing along with irregular heartbeats. Ascending very slowly helps prevent HAPE. If a person is suffering from the early stages of HAPE, s/he must be given oxygen and evacuated to a lower elevation.

 

HACE

It involves significant swelling of the brain and increasing cerebral pressure. Generally, AMS precedes HACE but not always. Major symptoms include mental confusion, irrational behavior, disorientation, inability to coordinate muscle movements, nausea and vomiting (in severe cases). If not treated in time, HACE ultimately leads to comma or death.

 

How Can You Prevent High Altitude Sickness?

  • Listen to your body and follow the following simple guidelines if you want to prevent Mountain Sickness:

  • Try climbing higher during the day time and descend down for the sleep. Climb slowly and increase your sleeping altitude by only 1000 to 15000 feet per day.

  • Pay attention to your body and beware of the initial sickness symptoms. If you are having AMS symptoms, do not climb.

  • If the symptoms are becoming severe, descend as soon as possible.

  • Drink two liters of waters per day for removing sweat.

  • Dress properly for high altitude treks. User synthetic under shirts for removing sweats, a down jacket to prevent hypothermia, and a warm fleece jacket which can predispose you to AMS and its complications.

 

The Tools You Need
Gamow Bag

Gamow Bag is a body-sized pressurized sack that artificially decreases the inner altitude by as much as 4500 feet. The patient is put in the Gamow Bag and then it is sealed. Then, a foot pump is operated to increase the pressure inside. For AMS, this treatment takes about a couple of hours and about four hours for HAPE and six for HACE. Actually a Gamow Bag is a temporary measure merely intended to prevent the negative effects of altitude until a patient is capable of descending.  

 

Pulse Oximeter

Pulse Oximeter measures the oxygen saturation of your RBCs. You need to clip the Pulse Oximeter to your fingertip and no blood needs to be drawn. This invaluable device monitors what percent of your hemoglobin molecules are carrying oxygen and offers an objective measurement of acclimatization. 

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What Client's Say

I have made a trip to Helambu circuit with Cold Feet in March 2009 and had a great time. Our Guide Suman did fantastic job. I will recommend Cold Feet to any of my friends and family who are traveling to Nepal.Tom Manzo Tucson Arizona

November 2013 - I just returned from the most amazing trek to Annapurna Base Camp with ColdFeet! Gopi and his staff were so helpful before I even arrived in Nepal and continue to be during my stay in this amazing country! Sunaina was an awesome, fun and caring guide. I would highly recommend ColdFeet to anyone looking for tours/treks in the Nepal area!jackie o. CANADA

Hey We just came back from a trip to langtang. Organization was very efficient, we planned the trip in two days and just went right away to Langtang! Beautiful place to see, good accommodation and very friendly guide, thanks Coldfeet!Nicolas Lacombe FRANCE

Great trek to Gosainkund lake arranged at short notice by Cold Feet, followed by rafting and cultural visits. We turned up at the desk in Thamel and Gopi organised all the rest for us at very short notice. Great guiding and even evening entertainment with puzzles and tricks.John Edwards turnipedwards@virginmedia.com

Today and yesterday I had an amazing two day sight seeing tour, in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Patan and lots of other places, organized by ColdFeet! Unfortunately I could not finish my original trek to ME base camp because I got ill and had to get back. Waiting for my friends, the lovely people from ColdFeet helped me get back on my feet and made my trip - although slightly different as planned - one I won't ever forget en enjoyed very much! So... thanks!Ilona Zwolle, The Netherlands

What I like best about the team at ColdFeet is not only are they knowledgeable guides and leaders, but they have the ability to help you get under the skin and really experience this wonderful country. Not only did we did have a great time trekking the Annapurnas and rafting the Trisuli, but we left Nepal feeling we had made lifelong friends. Tom, South LondonTom email.tom.griffin@gmail.com

I am now in my final year at university in England but a few summers back I was lucky enough to be part of a trek adventure in the Everest region organised by ColdFeet. Gopi, who was in charge, lead 50 Wimbledon Explorer Scouts for roughly ten days. The trip was incredibly well organised and we all felt very safe under his and his support staffs' guidance. Not only this but because of Gopi's extensive experience in the region we were really able to make the most of everything that was around us. I would enthusiastically recommend ColdFeet to anyone looking to trek in Nepal, not least because aswell as being professional and reliable all the staff at ColdFeet are friendly and do their upmost to make sure everyone really has fun. I look forward to any opportunity to be in Nepal with ColdFeet again. Oliver Young London

A really great trek, well led and organised by friendly, fun and frankly awesome guides. The most beautiful place I have ever been to. Thanks so much Gopi!Benedict Phillips Streatham Common, London, UK

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